HMNS Weekly Happenings

February 26, 2017
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Film Screening – Bridge On the River Kwai with Captain Jay Thomas

Join Captain Jay Thomas, US Naval History and Heritage Command for a one-night-only screening of this classic 1957 film.

Among the forced laborers who built the bridge over the River Kwai were American and Australian sailors who survived the sinking of the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth in the Battle of Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942. The 250-mile Thai-Burma Railway, known as the Death Railway, cost the lives of more than 12,000 Allied POWs. The River Kwai Bridge was only one of 688 bridges along the route.

Cosponsored by AIA, Houston Society with support from Schlumberger. Presented with conjunction with the exhibit “Guardians of Sunda Strait” at the Julia Ideson Library.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 – 6:30 PM

Members $12, Tickets $18


Lecture – Nutrition and Wild Orangutans: Insights Into Human Health by Erin Vogel

While nutrition has been recognized as critical to health in humans and other primates, we lack a basic understanding of primate nutritional strategies affect the energetics and health of wild primates. Orangutans have been recognized as a useful energetic model for human evolution because they share several adaptations with humans, including the propensity to store fat and utilize fat reserves when food is scarce. Studying wild orangutans offers a unique opportunity to integrate metabolic physiology and health with foraging in an ecological context, providing a natural experiment to examine the multi-dimensional relationships of nutrition, energetics, and health. Primate dietary ecologist, Dr. Erin Vogel, will discuss how information from diet, behavior, and physiology can help us understand how orangutans are adapted for survival in Borneo’s forests and shed light on the current obesity epidemic in modern day humans.

Cosponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017 – 6:30 PM

Members $12, Tickets $18


Lecture – Secrets from a Watery Grave: USS Houston and HMAS Perth by Jay Thomas, Ph.D.

Bridge over the River Kwai, 1943. Artist: Rawlings, Leo. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In the early morning of March 1, 1942, under a clear sky and a full moon, the Japanese Imperial navy sank the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth in the battle of Sunda Strait. During the battle, 696 US sailors and marines aboard the Houston and 375 Australian sailors aboard the Perth, including the captains of both ships, lost their lives. Forced into captivity, the survivors became part of the group of men who built the bridge on the River Kwai.

Tonight’s speaker will recount the story of the battle and the efforts to preserve the physical and human remains at this sacred spot. As a researcher, he has participated in dives to the wreckage.

Captain Jay Thomas, Ph.D. is curator at Naval History and Heritage Command and has participated in archaeological dives to the wreck of the USS Houston in Indonesian waters.

This event is cosponsored by AIA, Houston Society and HMNS with support from Schlumberger. This lecture is in conjunction with the Julia Ideson Library who is presenting the special exhibition “Guardians of Sunda Strait: the Wartime Loss of HMAS Perth and USS Houston.”

Thursday, March 02, 2017 – 6:30 PM

Members $12, Tickets $18


Family Space Day at the George Observatory

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Blast into outer space on a simulated space flight to the Moon! The Expedition Learning Center at the George Observatory will be open for individual children and adults to sign up for missions. No danger is involved! Astronauts are assigned jobs aboard the Space Station Observer and work together as they solve problems and have fun. Volunteers who work at NASA will run the missions and visit with the participants. Don’t miss this special opportunity to participate in real astronaut training!

Missions in the Expedition Learning Center are usually only open to groups with reservations. Don’t miss your chance to participate as an individual during this special event! A minimum of 10 participants is required for each mission. Refunds will be issued if the minimum is not met.

This event is available for people 7 years of age and older. Kids 7-9 must have an adult chaperone participate.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Members: $10, Non-Members: $15


Authored By Chris Wells

Adventure is my middle name. Well… actually it’s French. Literally, it’s Christopher French Wells. But the spirit of adventure lives in me, and has always inspired me to go out and seek new experiences. I’ve traveled to Europe, Mexico and South America, as well as few places in the U.S. I’ve seen different places with different cultures, learned some things about humanity and about myself in particular. My goal is to lend my unique perspective, carved out of my own triumphs and tragedies, fears and fancies encountered during my years of college and international travel, to the other great voices of this blog. Hopefully to the enjoyment of our readers…

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